The Cheshire Life Glitz List 2013
- Credit: Archant
Who brings wealth and glamour to our county? We shine the spotlight on celebrities, business people and long-standing residents who put the gloss on the Cheshire lifestyle
Jewellery-maker to the stars
Ten years ago, aged just 21, Chloe Moss went travelling to Asia. It was on a beach in Bali that she encountered a woman beading intricate silver bracelets, and a business idea was born.
Silversmiths in Bali were found, designs drawn up, and back home in Chester, Chloe’s jewellery business ChloBo was launched.
Since then, Chloe’s jewellery has been seen adorning some of the most photographed women: Cheryl Cole, supermodel Elle McPherson, Coleen Rooney to name but three. Her collections are available in over 80 boutiques and jewellers, and the business now employs 20 people at a studio in Chester.
‘Watching my company grow from the spare bedroom I made into a studio, to where it is now really has been an amazing experience,’ says Chloe. ‘I’m really pleased my jewellery has become successful, as I had no fashion or business training. Often I have to think on the spot and go with my instinct when making important decisions. It seems to be working so far!’
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Mere Golf Resort and Spa boss
Few individuals can have made a greater contribution to the leisure life of the Cheshire Set than Mark Boler, chief executive of The Mere Golf Resort and Spa.
The name says it all. The golf and country club in Mere, Knutsford, bought by his late father Stephen in 1984 has, in Mark’s 16 years at the helm, become a ‘resort’, with a £15m redevelopment recently, adding an 81-bedroom hotel, spa and two new restaurants.
Mark is 41, married with three sons and lives in Alderley Edge. He was born in Crewe and educated at Millfield School in Somerset. His father had made his fortune firstly in the tyre and exhaust business, and then through such brands as Dolphin Showers, Moben kitchens and Sharps bedrooms.
Mark has recalled how his father, who died of a heart attack in South Africa en route to his game reserve in 1998, taught young Mark the value of hard work by setting him a summer job of chopping tons of logs for winter. The more quickly he could finish the job, the sooner his summer holiday could begin. A valuable lesson learned.
Michael Oglesby CBE
A man of property
From modest beginnings in 1978, Michael Oglesby, chairman of the Bruntwood Group, built an enterprise which is now one of the leading property owners in the north of England. Bruntwood has around a fifth of the commercial office stock in Manchester city centre, and lets more property than any other firm in the market.
Since 2000, Mr Oglesby has left day to day running of the company to his son, Chris, giving him more time for a range of philanthropic and public service roles, including chairing the steering board for Manchester Cancer Research Centre, serving on the board of governors for Royal Northern College of Music and leading the project for a new school building for Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.
Mr Oglesby was born in Scunthorpe and now lives in Bowdon with his wife Jean.
Licensed to thrill
He may no longer have a home in Cheshire, but the actor who plays James Bond is always, by definition, one of the hottest stars in the showbiz firmament, so his old stamping ground is entitled to bask in the glow.
Daniel was born in 1968 in Chester, his dad Tim a merchant seaman who later became landlord of the Ring O’ Bells pub in Frodsham, his mother Olivia an art teacher. After the couple split, Daniel lived with his mother in Liverpool and then Hoylake. His acting debut in a Frodsham Primary School production of Oliver! left him wanting more, and he graduated from school plays to the National Youth Theatre. Parts in TV drama Our Friends In The North, and movies Road To Perdition and Layer Cake paved the way to him becoming the sixth Bond and, therefore, a movie immortal.
Carole Nash OBE
Businesswoman who is the bikers’ friend
There are few success stories as impressive as that of Carole Nash, who also proves it is possible to be a titan of business yet still be a nice person.
Raised in Manchester, she launched an insurance consultancy in 1985 after being made redundant from another insurance firm, running her business from the dining table of her home in Timperley. At the core of the new business was a small vintage motorcycle insurance scheme, but by 1997, Carole had become the market leader, going on to launch in Dublin too.
In 2006, Carole, who lives in Bowdon, sold the company to the UK arm of French insurance mutual Groupama, by which time her firm employed 300 people at its Altrincham headquarters, its repair centre and Dublin arm, and provided insurance for 250,000 motorcycles – about a quarter of all licensed machines.
Carole has devoted herself to charitable causes, and has supported the Halle Orchestra, the Royal Northern College of Music and Chetham’s School. She received the OBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours List for her philanthropy.
From market trader to patron of the arts
A market trader turned millionaire, Frank Cohen’s huge collection of contemporary art earned him the nickname of the ‘Saatchi of the North’. But since Mr Cohen joined forces with Danish collector Nicolai Frahm to set up the Dairy Art Centre earlier this year in Bloomsbury, he is very much of the south as well. The art establishment is sitting up and taking notice of a Manchester lad made good, who left school at 15 with no qualifications. Cohen sold wallpaper on a market stall, leading eventually to the Glyn Webb empire, which he ran for 25 years. He amassed hundreds of pieces of contemporary art and indulged a love of modern design which extended to having a house in Prestbury built in the style of Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe.
Gary Barlow OBE
Frodsham’s own national treasure
He may no longer live in Cheshire (Delamere Manor at Cuddington was sold in favour of a London home) but Gary Barlow’s bluff northern tones are a constant reminder of his roots.
Once a Frodsham lad with a penchant for the Barry Manilow songbook and a career as a club performer beginning in Connah’s Quay at the tender age of 12, Gary has transcended even pop stardom to become an established showbiz figure.
Two incarnations of Take That – as boy band, then man band – have made him one of the most bankable songwriters and performers the UK has ever known, with no less than six Ivor Novello awards to his credit.
It was Gary, now 42, who organised the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace last year, and this year will see his third season as a judge on the X Factor, with all the prime time TV saturation coverage that entails.
And then there is Gary’s charity work, herding a posse of celebrities up Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Comic Relief, and organising Children in Need Rocks concerts in London and Manchester.
Already a national treasure, and an OBE for services to the music industry and charity, can it be much longer before he hears the words: ‘Arise, Sir Gary’?
Iqbal Ahmed OBE
A man who serves up a million prawns every hour
Born in Bangladesh, Iqbal Ahmed is the chairman and chief executive of the multinational Seamark Group of companies, which has a group turnover of $250m and is the UK’s leading importer and processor of shrimps. Seamark processes a staggering one million prawns every hour.
In 2006, Seamark spent £12m on new headquarters in east Manchester, including the fabulous Vermillion restaurant and cocktail lounge Cinnabar.
Seamark’s business comprises everything from its own deep-sea fishing fleet in the Bay of Bengal to its own purpose-built processing plant in Manchester, and a distribution operation in New York. It employs 2,000 people globally and has a range of 1,000 products used by chefs and found in supermarkets across the world.
Among Iqbal’s many awards has been a Queen’s Award for Export Achievement and an OBE for services to international trade. He has served on a number of government committees and advisory bodies, including the Southern Asia Advisory Group (SAAG), The Competitiveness Council, New East Manchester Limited, The Ethical Trading Champions’ Group and New Enterprise Council. Iqbal also finds time for charity works in the UK and Bangladesh, including the development of Burunga Iqbal Ahmed High School and College, a secondary school and college for 1200 pupils in Sylhet in north east Bangladesh.
He is married with three children and lives in Wilmslow.
Dawn Gibbins MBE
Dawn of a new age
Thirty years ago, Dawn Gibbins launched flooring company Flowcrete, with her late father Peter Gibbins. It became a global market leader with 30 offices worldwide, and was sold in 2008 to multinational RPM.
Along the way, Dawn – Congleton born and bred - garnered a sheaf of business awards, including Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year in 2003, an honorary MBA from London Metropolitan University, an honorary doctorate in business administration from Manchester University and an MBE for services to industry.
Lately the entrepreneur has become a ‘philanthropreneur’. She was a compelling – and extremely generous – subject of Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire programme, donating £250,000 to several good causes. Dawn is a motivational speaker, particularly keen to inspire women in business, and an ambassador for the Feng Shui Society. She is passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and takes a keen interest in ‘new age’ spirituality.
The Duke of Westminster
The Duke of Westminster is a hardy perennial in the upper reaches of the Sunday Times Rich List, and topped the list three times in the Noughties.
The source of the family wealth is what it was when they began farming in Cheshire in the 15th century – land. But a defining moment in the family history came in 1677 when Sir Thomas Grosvenor married Mary Davies, who had inherited 500 acres of land north of the River Thames, which would later be developed as Mayfair, Belgravia and Pimlico.
The Grosvenor Estate employs 1,100 people in nine countries and comprises not just property holdings but the Wheatsheaf Group, which has investments in sustainable and food and energy initiatives, and several trading companies in the North West, plus the Family Investment Office, with five rural estates in the UK and Spain, a charitable foundation and fine art collection.
Home is Eaton Hall, near Chester. The Duke last year resigned as head of the Territorial Army and more than 40 years’ service, but is still committed to plans for a new rehabilitation facility for the armed forces. He is also patron of many charities and chancellor of the University of Chester.
Lord and Lady Ashbrook
Lord and Lady Ashbrook live at one of the great houses of Cheshire, and one of the county’s more popular tourist attractions, Arley Hall – as famous for its gardens as for the house. The family connection with this part of Cheshire goes back five and a half centuries, to when the first hall was built in 1469. But the present hall, and its gardens, date back to the early Victorian times.
Lord Ashbrook was educated at Eton and Worcester colleges, Oxford, and went on to practice as a solicitor before returning to manage Arley Hall in the mid-1970s.
Michael Oliver OBE
The great engineer
Michael Oliver launched Oliver Valves in 1979. Today, the company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of needle and ball valves. This year, Knutsford-based Oliver Valves completed its biggest-ever order - a £13.2m contract for a gas project off the coast of Qatar – having seen sales in the year to September 2012 leap to £65.5m. It has invested in research and development, creating jobs in engineering.
Hale-born Michael left school at 15 without qualifications and served an apprenticeship at engineering company David Brown, later working in the USA for the likes of Ford. He began Oliver Valves in his garage in Hale and saw the business grow to become three companies and six factories.
His love of engineering translates to a passion for fine cars, his collection including a 1929 Bentley Speed 6, a 1905 Léon Bollée, several Rolls Royces and a Bugatti Veyron.
A supporter of good causes including Manchester’s Wood Street Mission, and the Army Benevolent Fund, Michael launched the Oliver Foundation to help those caring for family or friends in Cheshire.
Building up a fortune
Now aged 78, Peter Jones is chairman of The Emerson Group, one of the UK’s largest privately-owned property firms, involved in residential development , through Jones Homes, commercial projects, through Orbit Developments, and overseas projects, through Emerson International.
Peter founded the company in 1959 and was among the first to see the opportunity for residential development across south Manchester. Based in Alderley Edge, Emerson builds up to 500 homes a year in the UK. Commercial developments have included the likes of the Lowry Outlet Mall at Salford Quays.
The fast way to fortune
It was when he took time out from work at the age of 30, spending time in New York, skateboarding, painting watercolours in Central Park, and playing chess in Washington Square Gardens, that Lawrence Jones came up with his next move.
Lawrence, who now lives in Hale Barns, became fascinated with the business possibilities of the internet. Thirteen years later, UKFast, the Manchester-based web hosting firm of which he is founder and chief executive, last year had a turnover of £20m, and predictions are for even greater things in years to come.
Lawrence hails from Denbigh, North Wales, and spent time studying music at Durham Chorister School before coming to Manchester where his first business venture was The Music Design Company, providing entertainment and event organisation. MDC was acquired by the Granada Group in 1998.
After that inspirational time-out in New York, Lawrence launched thegallery.com – a website allowing artists to showcase material online – and it was the difficulties he had creating the site which led him into web-related business, specifically cloud hosting. Lawrence and his girlfriend Gail, now his wife and business partner, set out to do things better with UKFast, now among the quickest-growing technology companies in the UK.
Sir Alex Ferguson
He may have stepped down after 26 glorious years as manager of Manchester United, but Sir Alex Ferguson is unlikely to disappear from our thoughts, or from the world of football, entirely. He and wife Cathy, Lady Ferguson, both hail from Glasgow, but home has long been Wilmslow.
The association between well-paid footballers and Cheshire has been there ever since George Best moved into a modernist pad in Bramhall, and that Cheshire-football connection was well and truly cemented in the public’s imagination by the era of David and Victoria Beckham in Alderley Edge.
Depending on the transfer market, there is an ever-changing squad of footballers in the Golden Triangle between Alderley Edge, Wilsmow and Prestbury. There’s change in the air for one of the most famous members of that football squad, but still paying their council tax in Cheshire, at least for now, are Wayne and Coleen Rooney, five years married and with two sons, Kai and Klay.
Manchester United stalwart Rio Ferdinand calls Alderley Edge home, Stoke City striker Peter Crouch bought cricketer Andrew Flintoff’s Prestbury mansion in 2011 and other residents of the Golden Triangle include Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart, United midfielder Michael Carrick and City’s Gareth Barry.
Success in a bottle
Huyton-based Halewood International has grown, since 1978, into the UK’s largest independent drinks manufacturer and distributor with a turnover in excess of £270m, and employing over a thousand people worldwide. The company’s brands include Tsingtao beer, Lambrini and Crabbie’s ginger beer.
The company was founded by John Halewood – a horse racing enthusiast who owned the 2004 Grand National winner Amberleigh House. When Mr Halewood died at his home in Hatton Heath, Cheshire, in October 2011, his partner Judy Halewood succeeded him as chairman of the firm.
Judy last year abseiled down The Shard in London, Europe’s tallest building, to raise almost £85,000 for the Outward Bound Trust.